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Mary Augusta Ward (née Arnold)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mary Augusta Ward (née Arnold)

by Herbert Rose Barraud, published by Eglington & Co
sepia carbon print on blue card mount, published 1889
9 3/4 in. x 7 in. (247 mm x 177 mm) image size
acquired, 1892
Photographs Collection
NPG Ax5470

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  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 117 Read entry

    The daughter of Thomas Arnold, Professor of English, for a time Newman's first classics Master at the Birmingham Oratory School, Mrs Humphrey Ward was the granddaughter of Dr Arnold of Rugby and niece of the poet and critic Matthew Arnold. A chronic sufferer from writer's cramp, she was a prolific author, and this photograph was taken shortly after the publication of her best known work, the novel Robert Elsmere (1888), an instant best-seller, which popularized her theme: the social mission of Christianity. She put her principles into practice, founding in London in 1890 a settlement for popular Bible teaching and social work which developed into the Passmore Edwards Settlement. She instituted 'children's play hours' and drew attention to the need for special educational facilities for handicapped children. Despite her own taste for politics, she was the foundress of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League (1908), working instead to bring the views of women to bear on the legislature without the aid of the vote. In the First World War she produced pro-Allied propaganda for America.

    This photograph appeared in Men and Women of the Day (1889).

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Current affairs

The London Dock strike takes place resulting in a victory for the dock workers striking over pay and conditions.
Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, allowing legal intervention between children and parents for the first time.
Charles Booth, the English social scientist, publishes the first volume of Life and Labour of the People, an extensive survey into the living conditions of London's East End working class communities.

Art and science

George Gissing's The Nether World, a dark account of the lives of the urban poor in Clerkenwell, is published. Gissing absorbs the French naturalist style of writers such as Emile Zola to produce a harshly realistic observation of life in London at the end of the nineteenth century.

International

The Eiffel Tower is erected, designed by the French engineer and bridge builder Alexandre Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exposition. At 300m high, it was the tallest manmade structure in the world at the time.
The Second International organisation is formed at a Congress in Paris by various socialist and labour parties, with the intention of working together for international socialism. It also declared 1 May International Labour Day.

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